I had to sit with this one for a while after I finished it to truly do this review justice. This book is absolutely stellar. Emotionally gripping, sinks hooks in and pulls all of the feels out of you good. And heartbreaking because too much of what this book is based on is true. The Philippines and Duterte. The Drug War. Thousands, possibly tens of thousands of murdered people because of a despot's idea of what "cleaning up crime" looks like. It's horrifying, desperately tragic, and all too easy for most of the world to turn a blind eye to.
Jay's cousin Jun is killed. Someone he traded frequent letters with up until he was about 14. Deep, resonating, and full of soul deep questions, the letters Jun sent Jay truly give him a voice in this book. No one will answer Jay's questions about what happened to his cousin so he decides to go there himself to find out. What he gets is far more than he bargained for, and had me in sobs by the end. I can't recommend this book enough. Truly a formidable but worthy read, this should be required reading in high schools. Brilliant.